SURGEON Julie Iddon is willing to go the distance to improve care for breast cancer patients at Burnley General Hospital.

The 47-year-old will run the Lancaster Half Marathon on Sunday to help the breast cancer unit raise £20,000, which would be enough to buy specialist equipment to develop a vacuum assisted biopsy system.

The tissue sampling technique uses a special instrument and imaging guidance to remove samples of breast tissue through a single, small skin incision.

Julie, who lives in Blackburn, said: “We already use these techniques for diagnostic purposes, but the next stage is using it to remove benign lumps, which is far less invasive than traditional surgery.

“There is only one place in the UK where they can remove actual cancers like this, but these kind of techniques will gradually become more available, so this is about getting ready for them being more widely used.”

The consultant breast and oncoplastic surgeon, who started running a year ago, also wants to highlight the importance of diet and exercise in preventing breast cancer.

She said: “I care for patients on a daily basis that battle serious illnesses such as breast cancer.

“And I wanted to somehow reflect their struggles by setting myself a difficult challenge.

“By running the marathon I also wanted to highlight the link between breast cancer and the health and wellbeing of a person.

“Recent studies show that middle aged ladies, like myself, have an increased chance of breast cancer when they gain weight later in life which is why I am trying to follow my own advice with good diet and regular exercise and hope to encourage more women to get their trainers on and start walking, jogging or running.”

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